Acquisition of mood selection in Spanish-speaking children

Melisa Dracos, Pablo Requena, Karen Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previous research indicates that the development of mood selection in Spanish spans several years and ends in the mastery of mood selection with sentential complements to express complex semantic meanings. The present study investigates this underexplored late stage by examining how Spanish-speaking children acquire adultlike mood selection in sentential complements to factive emotive predicates involving mental state adjectives (presupposition) and the negated epistemic verb creer ‘believe’ (nonassertion). Results of an oral sentence-completion task with 66 children (4;02–10;03) and 13 adults indicate that in contrast to the early acquisition of subjunctive to express volition (with querer ‘want’), children exhibit adultlike mood selection by ages 6–7 in the presupposition condition and ages 9–10 in the nonassertion condition. The discussion highlights not only the protracted nature of the acquisition of adultlike mood selection but also how the rate of development is context-specific as a function of semantic, syntactic, and processing complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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